When you look at how we've played and the way losses have piled up, the frustrating part is there are some games we should have won. This team is not as bad as we've been playing.

We have a good lineup, and we've scored runs, but as a bullpen, we haven't been able to hold leads and keep some other games close. That's worn on everybody, and hopefully we'll be able to turn that around really soon.

My role is pretty much what I expected when I signed with the Nationals during the offseason. They said I would be the eighth-inning guy. I was doing that and having success until I got hurt just a few weeks into the season.

Injuries are part of the game, but since I was coming to a new team, I really wanted to get off to a good start and show what I could do.

Initially, the doctors thought it would take two to four weeks to heal, but I ended up feeling fine after only a couple of days. But I was on the disabled list, so it was really frustrating. I was off the roster for 10 days knowing I was healthy.

The only good part was that during that time I was able to keep throwing. So I knew that when I came back, it probably wouldn't be too hard to get back into a groove.

Coming back now, I just want to throw strikes and stay healthy. If I'm able to do that, things will work out just fine.

In the short time I've been here, I've really noticed two of our young starters, Jordan Zimmermann and Shairon Martis. Both of them are pretty advanced pitchers. They seem like veterans who have been doing this for a long time, and they have good stuff, too.

We didn't know that they could handle the rigors of pitching up here, but so far they've held up very well. Overall, I like the talent and youth on our team.

Joe Beimel, who made his 400th career appearance last week, has a 1.74 in 11 2009 appearances, including three since returning from a strained left hip flexor. The veteran left-hander signed with the Nats as a free agent during the offseason and is now in his ninth Major League season.